Writer: Tyler Chin-Tanner
Pencils/Colors/Cover artist: James Boyle
Inks/Letters: Fabio Redivo
Editor: Wendy Chin-Tanner
Publisher: A Wave Blue World Inc.
Price: $2.99 US
This small-press comic’s title tells the reader nothing of what to expect from it, and the cover art isn’t much help either. That makes the novelty of the premise to be found within all the more surprising. This first of eight issues is the setup for a competition between the villain and a reluctant heroine. The machinations to arrive at that premise are somewhat far-fetched, but I was surprised at how much I was drawn in by the international flavor and the strengths of the two main characters. This comic looks and feels like something we’d see from Devil’s Due Publishing, and honestly, I think it would appeal to that high-adventure, high-action fanbase. There’s potential in this book, but it’s not really in the premise. Instead, the potential lies in the skills of the creators and their room for development.
Dr. Saida Nri toils away in her small, underfunded clinic near a remote African village in Tanzania, doing her best to tend to the health needs of the families living in that part of the Third World. She also emphasizes the need for the locals to obey a distant government’s laws, and she takes particular umbrage when outsiders fail to follow that example. That brings her face to face with Alex Lowder, the thrillseeking son of a U.S. media tycoon. In the wake of his father’s passing, Lowder is denied his place at the head of his family’s corporation, so he seeks to fill his life with a new challenge. And the athletic, skilled and courageous Saida is vital to his plan.
James Boyle and Fabio Redivo’s artwork is clearly influenced by manga, or at least by Amerimanga and Ameri-anime pop culture that’s grown in prominence in recent years. There are times when the art is really strong. I love Boyle’s depiction of the lion in the opening poaching scene; it’s intense and draws the reader into the story immediately. The characters are a different story. They’re rendered inconsistently. At times, Boyle seems to have a sharp eye for anatomy and movement; at others, the figures are loosely defined, even looking sloppy and rushed. Sometimes, the characters look far too stiff as well, notably in those scenes that do not feature Saida.
The colors are pretty sharp for a small-press book. Boyle wisely uses the colors to bring some variations in shadings in texture in the characters’ faces. Overall, the colors are fairly bright, which is in keeping with the energy of the two main characters and the action-oriented qualities of the plot.
Lowder’s abduction of Saida is rather difficult to accept, and just as annoying is the realization that in the next issue, she’ll have to forgive that transgression in order for the story to continue. As the series progresses, she’ll be competing with Lowder, and in order to do so, she’ll have to be free rather than held captive. The whole reality-TV schtick does bring some credibility to the plot, though, and I’ll be curious to see how creator and writer Tyler Chin-Tanner plots further episodes.
The heroine is almost too perfect. She’s beautiful, caring, brilliant, confident, daring, fit, tough, agile and brave beyond belief. One could argue that Saida is annoyingly ideal… but yet, I can’t help but really like her. I think part of her appeal is the writer’s decision to avoid Americanizing her. She’s not G.I. Jane. She’s an African who has worked to better herself in order to serve others as best she can. She’s an admirable figure, but I think one reason she’s so likeable is that the title’s antagonist — Alex Lowder — is so corrupt. He ignores laws to satisfy not only his thirst for thrills but to simply fulfill whatever whim passes through his head. 5/10
For more information about Adrenaline, visit A Wave Blue World’s website (though it doesn’t seem to be working properly right now.)